Thursday, October 25, 2018

Prime Time For Fall Color and Mountain Lakes

Dianne and I put the kayaks on the roof and headed about four hours north. The Mt. Shasta region is loaded with scenic spots to camp, kayak, paddle and hike. I love the clear, cold water of the small mountain lakes like Castle Lake. Such a beautiful lake to paddle and they didn't even charge us to park or launch!
Castle Lake

In addition to Castle Lake, we also made time to visit Lake Siskiyou. It was a cold morning, but we still enjoyed the hiking trail around the lake and the big pedestrian bridge with a view of Mt. Shasta.

Lake Siskiyou Hiking Trail

This year we added a set of Yakima roof racks to the sedan, so hauling the boats is much faster and easier now even over long distances at highway speed. Fall has always been my favorite season. Spending part of this season in the Mt. Shasta region is one I will never forget.

Tauhindauli Park in Dunsmuir, CA.
Even the city parks in this area are wonderful!

Monday, July 02, 2018

Paddle Yosemite - The Merced River

Merced River
A  great way to cool off and rest your feet after hiking around at Yosemite is to take a trip on the Merced River. From the Yosemite Valley, you can enjoy a 3-mile float down the Merced River in your own craft or on a rented raft that holds 2-4 people. My wife and I were amazed at how clear and cold the water is on the Merced. Snow melt makes for much colder conditions that this Okie is accustomed to when paddling!

If you'd like to use your own raft or tube, you have the option of purchasing a ticket for the shuttle bus back to Half Dome Village at the end of your rafting journey for $5.00 per person. You can bring your deflated inner tube or raft back with you on the bus, as long as it fits in your lap. Of course, kayaks won't fit on the shuttle buses, but bringing your own boat usually means arranging your own shuttle.

Please beach rafts on sand or rock areas only; don't disturb the natural vegetation around the area.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Fall Offers Dramatic Skies

Paddling in the fall is usually my favorite time of year for sunset paddling.

Constantly changing weather conditions make for colorful sunset and dramatic clouds.

Of course, the downside is you just might get wet, but you should NEVER let potential wetness keep you out of your kayak!

What's your favorite season for paddling?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fun Fall Paddling and a New Trade Show for OKC in 2018

Earth Day Eve Kayaking
Dripping Springs Lake - Okmulgee, OK
I love paddling in the Fall. The weather gets pretty unpredictable in Oklahoma, but you can expect some days nice enough for kayaking. All that changing weather adds to the sunsets, so make sure you don't go home before the show is over! Paddlesports Retailer, the official tradeshow for paddlers, by paddlers, will move to Oklahoma City in 2018.

The new location was chosen for its commitment to creating a spectacular, world-class urban paddlesports venue on the Oklahoma River. "There are two primary reasons that we're moving to Oklahoma City," says Show Manager Marcus Shoffner. "First, we are simply out of space in Madison. We were overwhelmed by the response from both retailers and vendors at our inaugural show. Oklahoma City gives us room to expand with a new 200,000 square foot convention center slated to open in 2020. But most importantly, Oklahoma City offers the country's premier paddlesports venue which will be the centerpiece of our event."

 Over the last 10 years, Oklahoma City has invested more than $100 million in the Oklahoma City Boathouse District, the official U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Training Site for paddlesports. It includes a world-championship caliber sprint kayak and rowing course, a $45 million Olympic whitewater river and slalom course, and a high-performance training center for elite paddlesports athletes from around the world.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Kelp Wanted

This Okie could not have been more surprised to learn that one of the coolest kinds of wildlife around is seaweed!  The beauty of the kelp forests around the Channel Islands is clear to any visitor. Did you know this amazing plant grows 12 inches per day in cold water?  We even got to snack on some of the young bits of kelp. It ain't bad!

Kelp Wanted
Sea kelp is one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, in fact Japan has harvested kelp from its natural habitat commercially for over a century. More pics from our trip can be seen on our Flickr feed.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sea Kayaking Around Santa Cruz Island

What an amazing paddling trip!

Dianne and I drove about 6 hours to Ventura, California. Early the next morning we took a one-hour ferry ride to Santa Cruz Island for some sea kayaking!

The ferry ride itself would be pretty dull, but we were blessed with some company about halfway out. A pod of dolphins swum up to check us out and surf our boat wake! We also saw some seals and sea lions and the ever-present sea gulls.

Shortly after our arrival at Scorpion Beach we spotted a few of the Santa Cruz Island Foxes that abound here. They are dwarf foxes. Our guide says that their dwarfism is an evolutionary result from being genetically secluded on the island. It was nice to have a few minutes to relax and watch the foxes while my stomach settled down from that ferry ride!

Santa Cruz Island is known for three main things: the island foxes, kelp forests, and some very cool sea caves. We came to kayak through as many of these sea coves as the time and the tides would allow. Our guide led us to an through 6 or 8 of these amazing places on our three hour sea cave kayaking tour. The kayaks were all wide heavy SOT kayaks, well suited for the quickly changing conditions. This ain't flatwater kayaking, The waves were much larger than I have ever paddled in on Eufaula and the weather was you should expect to get wet.

I have some more fun pictures to share from the trip, but Dianne and I were in a tandem kayak so you won't see much of either of us. Additionally, the dark steaminess of these sea caves makes kayak photography even harder than usual! However, the experience of paddling through sea caves is a blast and many of them are truly beautiful inside! Other sea caves are dark and loud and steamy and the constantly changing water level can make you woozie! In any case, emerging from the darkness into the bright sunlight was always a bit thrilling!

This time I took two cameras and no lights in hindsight that was a poor choice. There was lots to photograph, once the sun came out. Santa Cruz Island even has their own Elephant Rock, just like on the Illinois River in Oklahoma...sort of. Here is a photo of it. See the elephant?

I highly recommend contacting Channel Islands Adventure Company and taking this trip if you ever get the chance.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Lake Natoma - Flatwater Fun Near Rancho Cordova

For our 2nd trip with our new kayaks we decided to paddle Lake Natoma. Lake Natoma is on the American River, located between Folsom Dam and Nimbus Dam in Sacramento County. The lake is located within the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.

Lake Natoma Kayaking
We launched from the Negro Bar area, which was the site of a gold rush era camp for black miners. Now the area hosts many rowing championships and even includes a kayak rental operation. Lake Natoma is 15 miles northeast of Sacramento on highway US 50, so it is very close to home for us. It is a pleasant place to paddle, as long as you don't mind paying. Fees are required for both parking and for each boat you launch.

It is a short paddle from the boat ramp at Negro Bar to the Rainbow Bridge and then until you can see Folsom Prison. It is prudent to then turn your kayaks around and head back once you see the prison, which is what we did. This part of California is the super-scenic but, as with any body of water, it can breathtaking in the right light/weather conditions. I find photo-paddling a bit disappointing around here due to the lack of clouds on most days but there are birds to watch and some lovely rock formations.

What it lacks in scenery it makes up for in lunch options after paddling. We opted for a visit to Famous Burger and I recommend it highly. The burgers are excellent, affordable and they have about a dozen craft beers on tap. Expect a happy landing if you stop by Famous Burgers in Rancho Cordova after your trip!

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Win Kayaks at Scenic Rivers Fall Fest 2017

A Wacky Boat Race is a new, fun way to participate in the Grand River Dam Authority Scenic Rivers Fall Fest 2017 on Saturday.

The Kiwanis Club, with its annual Race for the Kids, is partnering with GRDA to create a festival atmosphere from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Diamondhead Resort, 12081 Oklahoma 10.

Registration for the canoe and kayak races is at 9 a.m. and the race begins shortly afterward.

For the Wacky Boat Race, participants can decorate a vessel or make a floating raft.

Four kayaks will be prizes for competitions – two for the canoe race, one for the kayak race and one for the Rubber Ducky Race.

For entries into the afternoon Rubber Ducky Race, participants can purchase one ticket for $5 or five for $20, with prizes for winners.

Proceeds of the Kiwanis' activities all go to support kids programs.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Labor Day is for Paddling

Sure it is hot, but you just have to leave early, right? That is when you can catch the most fish and the best light anyway! Dianne and I hit the American River again this year. This section of the river is not real scenic, but it is fast clear water and it is walking distance away. We car-topped our two kayaks on foam blocks and and used one of our bikes and a short Uber ride to self shuttle.
We got a bargain on both boats. Both were on sale for the holiday and came in well below $300 hundred each. Here in California we are not required to tag them but there are darn few put-in that won't make you pay for both parking and boat launching.
As they say: "It's the land of milk and honey, but you better have good money."

I had been putting off replacing our boats, but all that flooding in TX and Louisiana got me nervous. The lime green boat is a Revel 10 kayak made by Emotion Kayaks and Dianne picked a Pelican Tracker Angler kayak. Both boats performed well on the short trip from Sunrise Recreation Area down to the take-out at Rossmore Bar. Got a plan a longer trip next time though. This one only took about an hour. We spent more time setting the shuttle up than paddling the river today!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Lake Jenkinson at Sly Park

Kayaking on Lake Jenkinson at Sly Park in the Sierra foothills. Kayaking on Lake Jenkinson at Sly Park
We had to give up our "plastic navy" when we moved out to California, but we still manage to go paddling from time to time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Beavers Bend Kayak Classic April 18 2015

The Beavers Bend Kayak Classic is a charity Kayak Bass Fishing Challenge Hosted by Oklahoma Kayak your premiere Paddlesport Superstores in both Tulsa and OKC.

Click to register now

Come fish the Beaver's Bend Kayak Classic April 18, 2015 to enjoy some of Oklahoma's most scenic waters and show off your angling skills. You might win a cool fishing kayak or even the $3000 cash prize!

This year's charity receiving all proceeds from the tournament and associated gear raffle will be, a very humble and hardworking group that removes barriers to paddling for active and veteran service members. This national organization has had an Oklahoma presence since 2012, and brags some super dedicated and humble volunteers who change lives daily.

Want to get more involved, in the Tulsa, OKC, Lawton, or Enid area?

Contact either Tulsa or OKC Kayak and tell them Oklahoma Road Trips sent you.

Monday, August 18, 2014

You Can Take the Okie Out of Oklahoma

Lake Merritt - Oakland, CA.
Clearly, it has been a very long time since I lasted posted an Oklahoma Road Trip. The truth is that I have been forced to relocate in order to find work.

Since last Fall, I have been living in Oakland, CA and working for a small professional content management services firm called Western Integrated Systems. I am enjoying the weather, the food and meeting new people here but the demands of a new job have left little time for kayaking and I had to sell my entire plastic navy to help cover the moving costs. As a result, you can't expect may new Oklahoma adventures to get posted here.

Luckily, the Oklahoma paddling scene is growing so fast that there will be no shortage kayaking opportunities. The folks at Tulsa Kayak and Hook1 are among many groups working toward building great kayaking communities for the Sooner State.

Tulsa Kayak (
411 South 1st Street, Jenks, OK, 74037
(918) 298-4577

Tulsa Kayak organizes trips and classes and also facilitates free, fun social paddles and other events throughout the year.

HOOK 1 - Kayak Fishing store in Tulsa Oklahoma.

Hook1 offers "demo days" for customers to come out to the water and demo kayaks.  They also offer demos on Saturday mornings by appointment. HOOK 1 will provide the kayaks, paddles, and life preservers.  Call the HOOK 1 shop at (918) 212-6850 or email at

Just as soon as I can get some time off, I mean to check out some of California kayaking spots. Until then...keep paddling!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fall Paddling Season Arrives in Oklahoma

This Summer is ending with me not having spent nearly enough time in my kayak. I have been prioritizing work's needs all year, but I have found a solution.  IBM laid me off.  Now, my schedule should be wide open for paddling trips, right?  Actually, not so much as job hunting is pretty time consuming but I did find time to go kayaking a couple times.

I met up with my buddy Bill for some Deep Fork River paddling, he is shopping for kayaks so I let him test drive our plastic navy.  Greg met up with me for some Salt Creek paddling and a trip down Grave Creek. I didn't catch very good light on any of those trips, so I don't really have many pictures to share.  Here is a nice shot of Greg & Dianne on the Lower Mountain Fork River trip we made for my birthday last year.

Hope you find some time to do some paddling soon.  The next few weeks in Oklahoma should be prime time for outdoor fun.

If you find time, stop by the Nuyaka Creek Winery Fall Wine Festival this Saturday September 21, 2013. The whole family will be there enjoying the day.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oklahoma City Kayaking Events

Free Kayak Demo Day in Oklahoma City 

Free Kayak Demo Day at Lake Hefner's Paddler's Park in Oklahoma City Wednesday, August 22, 2012.
Come try many flavors of kayaks side by side to find out which one you might like to buy! Brought to you by the great folks at OKC Kayak.

Paddle for the Cure

Paddle for the Cure, a dragon boat competition benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure Central and Western Oklahoma, is set for the opening night of the Oklahoma Regatta Festival.
Paddlers will take to the Oklahoma River and compete under the lights the evening of Thursday, September 27, 2012.

Those wanting to form a team and sign up to race may do so by calling the Komen Foundation at (405) 526-2873. For more information on the event and the Oklahoma Regatta Festival, visit

2012 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo 

The ODWC is looking for kayaker volunteers to help with their Wildlife Expo on Sept 29 & 30. What the volunteers would be doing is helping people in and out kayaks and passing out life jackets. People who work 4 or more hours get a shirt and lunch. To volunteer contact Kristen Gillman from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation at:

Location: The Lazy E Arena is located at 9600 Lazy E Drive off I-35. The arena is just north of OKC between Edmond, OK and Guthrie, OK.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Illinois River Clean-up August 30, 2012

The annual Illinois River Clean-up will be held Thursday, August 30, 2012 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The clean-up is an event which gives volunteers the opportunity to participate in river conservation, to connect with other environmentally conscious citizens and to take a float down the scenic Illinois River. Volunteers will also enjoy a free lunch and are eligible to win great prizes.

Call the OSRC at 918-456-3251 to register for this fun and helpful event. Registration ends August 28, 2012.